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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel on Sunday announced it was adding Britain, Denmark and Belgium to its “red” list of countries that Israelis are forbidden to visit, citing concern over the spread of the Omicron variant.

The travel restrictions for the three countries will go into effect on Wednesday, a senior Israeli health official told a news conference.

Israel has already banned the entry of foreigners to try to stem COVID-19 infection rates and imposed 3-7 day self-isolation orders for Israelis returning from abroad.

At the news conference Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of public health at Israel’s Health Ministry, said Britain, Denmark and Belgium were being placed on the restricted list because of the “significant spread of the Omicron variant” there.

Some 50 countries, mainly in Africa, have been declared “red” by Israel since the discovery of the highly contagious variant. Israeli health officials said there have been 55 confirmed cases of Omicron infection in Israel, which has been trying to accelerate its vaccination programme while weighing stricter enforcement of mask mandates.

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